|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
James Bond tried out computer generated effects in 'Die Another Day'
and most fans didn't accept it. So, it's back to basics and old
fashioned stunt making for 'Casino Royale'. Of course the narrator
tries to make us believe this decision was made to coincide with the
introduction of a younger, harder bond at the beginning of his career.
I'd say it's a little bit of both. The James Bond series has made a
habit of incorporating current trends into it for years. For instance,
blaxploitation was all the rage during the making of 'Live and Let
Die'. 'The Man with the Golden Gun' (1974) incorporated the then
current Kung Fu craze. 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977) featured a
henchmen called Jaws two years after Spielberg's film of the same name.
When 'Star Wars' became the most successful film of all time that same
year, Bond's next outing was changed from 'For Your Eyes Only' to
'Moonraker'. By the time of 'Tomorrow Never Dies', Kung Fu was back in
style with Michelle Yeoh. Denise Richards wore a Tomb Raider outfit in
'The World Is Not Enough' and 'Die Another Day featured 'Matrix' style
editing. Casino Royale follows the trend of 'rebooting' film franchises
such as 'Batman Begins' and 'Superman Returns', as well as the grittier
spy escapades of the 'Bourne Identity' series.
Lets face it, now that special effects wizards can create anything they want, providing their computers get enough time to render it, movie goers are less impressed by visuals then ever. Even when the stunts are done for real, people expect the film to be somehow digitally enhanced. For that reason, the spectacular free running chase sequence near the start of Casino Royale still had some spectators wondering how much was actually done on set. Thankfully we still have making of specials such as this one to fall back on. Filmed in the real Bahamas, in an abandoned hotel first spotted by producer Michael G. Wilson during the filming of the aforementioned 'Spy Who Loved Me', the production designers managed to make it appear like it was still under construction (by importing absolutely everything they needed, there was nothing available over there). Some SFX secrets are revealed: when Bond drives the New Holland digger through a slab of concrete, it's actually a piece of breakaway slab. When Sebastien Foucan, the Parcour enthusiast Bond is chasing, jumps from one crane to the other there is a safety line attached to him (to be erased in post production) but he is doing the actual jumping. And of course the close ups of Foucan battling Daniel Craig at the top of the crane were mostly done by stunt men with closeups filmed considerably closer to ground. Craig himself trained for three months to do this scene and watching it makes it hard to imagine any previous Bond actor managing to keep up. Except for Connery, of course. That guy can do anything. He'd probably still managed to do it convincingly today.
Accompanied by one of those David Arnold/Oakenfold remixes of the Bond Theme and music from both the 'Die Another Day' and 'Casino Royale' soundtracks, we move onto the most difficult stunt sequence in the entire film, the Airport chase. This time bond is after the hired bomb-maker who replaced the previous one played by Sebastien. Months of preparation went into it (made evident in behind the scenes footage) and it's interesting to see the stunt team led by Chris Corbould testing cars being blown off the runway by the force of approaching airplanes (one of the automobiles hit a camera full on). Though set at Miamy Airport, different parts of the set piece were shot in Prague and Dunstfold (as well as Miamy itself). Beside this scene, special attention is paid to the destruction of an Aston Martin and the fact that 7 rolls on wet grass amounted to a place in the Guinness book of records. In this documentary we get to see all seven of them in slow motion and count along with them. Finally we get to the sinking house sequence, where Eva Green gets in a word, but this so as not to spoil the movie, the less time spend on this stunt the better. Chris Corbould sums it up best, saying people still want to see real guys doing actual stunts, no Nancy girls in front of blue screens (well, perhaps he didn't put it quite so bluntly). And since this presentation was made to draw viewers to the cinema, it ends with the usual frantic and wild montage set to perhaps the most indestructible piece of music ever composed, the James Bond Theme. Still don't know why they chose to call Casino Royale's theme song 'You know my name', though. 'You asked for it' would have been more appropriate, as that was the title under which the book was first published in America.
8 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . as it implies that the James Bond producers did NOT actually buy and destroy a 500-year-old run-down block of Venice, Italy, during the making of Eon Company's Bond #21. When I saw this as the theater, I thought, 'Great, those crazy Venetians have finally found some common sense and now realize how silly they've been all these years throwing good money after bad clinging to their swamp city.' I was sort of looking forward to seeing Venice disappear block-by-block in subsequent blockbuster flicks, such as entries in the DIE HARD, HUNGER GAMES, and AVENGERS series. As an American, I'm well aware that it's standard operating procedure in our northern cities to let decaying industrial hulks linger on as cityscape eyesores decades after their useful life has ended. But at least no one is in danger of drowning at Detroit's old Packard factory or Chicago's Wrigley Field ("The House That Gum Built"). On the other hand, Venetians seem hell-bent on joining their Atlantis cousins on the bottom of the sea. They apparently would not give the Bond folks even one grungy block to destroy, so the movie people wasted millions recreating Venice in a high-and-dry film studio!
An hour of promos (Becoming Bond + James Bond: For Real) for a 2:24
film (or 1-1/2 hours counting the reworked babes one, too)? Wild. Well,
if it made sense to you that a bad guy fleeing James Bond would run up
the shell of a skyscraper under construction to get away and then that
James Bond would run up there after him until he chased him back down
onto the ground again (Was I seriously the only person who psychically
divined that both of them would have to end up on the ground again?),
then maybe that's what you're looking for. Actually that was sort of
explained, wasn't it, as it was no doubt due to the chased bad guy
being a practitioner of some extreme sport of Free Running (running as
an art) rather than an actual spy? This short is specifically about
doing the stuntwork on Casino Royale. Besides the free running work, it
also went behind the scenes on the automobiliac stuntwork and truck
chase & explosions and the action sequences in general. One could
almost get the impression that some people watch Bond flicks to see the
stunts rather than to follow the intricate plots & soulful acting.
As for the other "review", once again the reviewer gives a nice, insightful behind the scenes look into the stunts of different James Bond films -- half of his review not covering this documentary. If one could manage to easily separate the review from the personal Bond commentary, perhaps with different colored text?, THAT would be a nice review of James Bond: For Real.
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